Three-times winner Helio Castroneves topped qualifying speeds for the May 27 Indianapolis 500 as Danica Patrick assured herself of a spot in the final race of her career on a rainy Saturday at the famed Brickyard.
Brazilian Castroneves, winner in 2001, 2002 and 2009, powered his Penske to a four-lap average speed of 228.919 mph during a morning run as he prepared to chase a fifth Indy 500 pole.
“I ran only half-throttle, so tomorrow I’m going to go full-throttle,” Castroneves jokingly told reporters. “Certainly, we’re going to push it.
The top nine fastest times from Saturday will stage a shootout for pole position on Sunday.
Patrick will be among those nine as the only woman in the field sneaked into the Fast Nine in the final slot at 227.610 mph.
Team Penske have three of the top four positions heading into Sunday’s shootout: Castroneves, Frenchman Simon Pagenaud third and Will Power fourth. Former pole winner Ed Carpenter broke up the group, finishing second fastest at 228.62 mph.
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